There are a lot of new titles for the Xbox One, but one of those I was most curious about was Zumba Fitness World Party – and not even for me, but for my family. My wife and daughters love to dance, but of the three only my youngest probably qualifies as a gamer. This was a big test for the Xbox One and its new Kinect.
By and large, the Kinect is what this game is all about. It watches the movements on the screen as you dance, scoring you based on the accuracy of your dance moves, but the Kinect is also heavily present in the menu system. You can use your hand in most situations to act as a cursor and also some voice commands to navigate your way through. For the most part, the gesture commands work well as you hover your hand over an arrow or menu item to make it trigger.
Voice recognition does not react quite so well. When telling it to do very basic things like left or up, it works just fine. It is when you are navigating deeper into some of the menus that the voice commands start to struggle. This is due in part to a common problem the Kinect itself suffers from, and that is not knowing what you are supposed to say. Most of the menu options are represented by speech commands, but when we were playing with the custom play lists using ‘select’ was not immediately obvious.
Thankfully the challenges of navigating the menu are really just part of the learning curve. Playing the actual game works quite well. The songs sometimes feel a little on the short side, especially the more intense ones that clock in at less than two minutes. This makes things a bit more welcoming to a newcomer to dancing fitness, but if you are already in good shape these might not prove strenuous enough without stringing several together.
As for the game itself, there is a wide variety of songs and dancing styles, which provides variety that should appeal to a large number of people. The Would Tour option gives you a more objective-based way to to play that should appeal to gamers who want to do more than just pick songs out of a long list. There are several options within the game that should appeal to those looking for Zumba
to serve as an exercise tool. The game keeps track of approximate calories burned and allows you to set regular goals for yourself. The objective is to follow the lead dancer’s motions as closely as you can, getting scored on your accuracy and how long you can be accurate. Once the song concludes, you get a summary of your efforts.
Because this is dancing and not a series of regimented exercises, I think it has the potential to remain entertaining for a longer period of time. Time will tell if they burn out on it or not, but so far all of them have been enjoying it. I certainly tried my hand (or feet at it), but was curious to see how non-gamers would react to the title and the new hardware. To that end it was quite popular with all of them, and it was a good time for me as well.
The presentation is nicely done as well. Of course you have the music, which is very important, but I have seen older versions of games like this last generation and you are generally looking at outlined our silhouetted figured, but here you have full motion video of actual dancers and it really makes everything look and sound very engaging.
If you are not interested in dancing or fitness games, odds are Zumba Fitness World Party will not appeal to you, but if you have an affection for either of those genres, the Kinect does an excellent job of delivering on that promise – at least in-game. The menus can feel a bit clunky at times, but they are anything but a deal killer. What it boils down to? Zumba Fitness World Party is a lot of fun.
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